Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service)( 11/22/07)
Hands and Feet
By Pam Carlson-Hetland
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"That was so inspiring!" one lady exclaimed. "Iíve never heard a sermon like that. Now I know what God has called me to do."
"Wish I did." Shelli thought to herself. "Maybe God didnít give me anything special."
Shelli looked around, quickly identifying several individuals who obviously served the Lord with their talents. There was Valerie--softly playing the piano as the sanctuary emptied. Shelli recognized the song that Valerie had composed. It had blessed the entire congregation today during Worship.
Off in the corner, was Keith. As an elder, Keith was well known for his ability to make wise financial decisions for the church. His fundraising efforts paid off the mortgage for the new addition one year early. Many suspected that he and his wife had been anonymous benefactors to several families over the past few years.
Bethany, the Wednesday night womenís Bible study teacher, waved from across the room. Shelli admired how she could explain the most difficult passages so simply.
A crowd of well-wishers had gathered around Charlotteís wheelchair. Her turban, covering the ravages of chemotherapy, was slightly askew from so many hugs. Charlotte was a nurse who had cared for so many others through illness and grief. Her compassion for hurting souls was renown. Even cancer had not stopped her from reaching out to comfort others.
Shelli left church that day totally confused as to where she fit into Godís plan in the body of Christ. Later that week, she stopped in to see Pastor Tom.
"What a nice surprise." Tom greeted her and motioned to a chair. "What can I do for you?"
Tom frowned. "Ungifted?"
"I took notes on your sermon about the gifts of the Spirit. I donít seem to have any."
Pastor Tom was about to laugh until he realized that Shelli was quite serious. He cleared his throat.
"Why do you think that?"
"Well, Iím certainly not musical and I canít lead worship like Valerie."
"Valerie is extremely talented, I agree. But she just told me yesterday that she was able to write that song because you have been babysitting her young children one afternoon a week. Thatís when she prepares for Sunday worship."
"Oh, yeah, well thatís no big deal," shrugged Shelli. "I take her kids and mine to the playground and let them run off some energy. On rainy days, we bake cookies or something."
"That reminds me. Keith mentioned that you organized the bake sale fund raiser. It brought in about $500.00 more than he was anticipating."
"Really?" Shelliís eyes widened in surprise. "That was no problem, it was fun. I love to bake and the kids helped decorate the cookies. Bethany gave me a new cookbook so we tried out lots of recipes."
"Speaking of Bethany," he interjected "itís been difficult for her to get to Bible study since her car broke down. I understand that youíve been bringing her on Wednesdays."
"She only lives a mile from me. Itís not far out of my way. Sheís such an excellent teacher. It would be a shame if the women had to miss her class."
Tom picked up a folder. "I have a Parish Nurse report here. Judy said youíve been doing Charlotteís laundry."
"Her washing machine is in the basement. Itís impossible for her to get there. I have so much laundry, whatís another load or two?"
Tom was thoughtful for a minute. Grabbing a pen, he sketched an outline of a body. Then with a few snips from a scissor, he turned the picture into an amputee.
Holding it up to Shelli, he asked, "If Valerie had no hands to care for her children, how could she compose praise music? If Keith had nobody to make the goods to sell, how could he raise funds? If Bethany had no means to get to Bible study, how could she teach? And if Charlotte had no help at home, how could she still be ministering to other cancer patients by phone?"
People with the gift of serving or Ďhelpsí are the hands and feet of the body of Christ. None of these people could use their gift as effectively, if you werenít operating in yours."
Shelli smiled. "Hands and feet? Thatís my gift? Thatís easy."
Tom smiled back. "Not for everyone--just the gifted ones."
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